The narrative voice in Paddy Crewe’s bold and impressive debut belongs to Yip, who is mute, tiny and has no hair anywhere on his body. Yip was born in 1815 and lives in Heron’s Creek, a small town in Georgia. His father mysteriously disappeared on the night of his birth so he lives with his mother, who runs a general store. She is a woman of ‘ruthless Assiduity’ who finds Yip a burden.
Yip is not able to go to school because the other children find his strange appearance unnerving (‘them recoil as though one touch of me might bring the Devil dancing to their door’). Consequently, he has nothing to do except sit outside his mother’s store and watch the